DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 April) — The city government has imposed a ban on the transport of game fowl into this city from areas with a bird flu outbreak to protect the local poultry industry from possible transmission of the virus, Dr. Cerelyn Pinili, head of the City Veterinary Office, said.
Transport of game fowl from areas with no recorded bird flu cases, however, will be allowed provided the owners present a biosecurity clearance.
Pinili told the Davao City Disaster Radio on Friday that breeders or cockfighting aficionados in the city may send game fowls to other places to compete in national derbies, but bringing them back into the city will require the presentation of a veterinary health certificate issued either by a private or government veterinarian certified by the local government, and a shipping permit.
“Entry of game fowls (without the biosecurity requirements) is prohibited if they come from Luzon or municipalities or provinces affected by bird flu. Those breeders from Davao City, however, can send out game fowls to other areas since we are free from avian flu,” she said.
Pinili said the local government is doing its best to protect the city and keep its bird flu-free status after the recent detection of avian influenza in neighboring Magsaysay town in Davao del Sur and in North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces.
She said the local government has set up 13 veterinary checkpoints assisted by Task Force Davao and the Davao City Police Office to enhance border control and monitor the entry of live poultry and poultry products to the city.
“They are (manning the checkpoints) 24/7 to check the entry of live poultry or poultry products if they have the documents,” Pinili said.
She said the city is classified under “Stage 1,” which means it remains free from avian flu.
Under this stage, Pinili noted the local government undertakes preventive measures, including the consistent surveillance of commercial and backyard poultry farms.
She said the local government is trying to prevent the entry of the infection to protect local raisers and the consumers since bird flu, a zoonotic disease, could be transmitted to humans who may suffer from “mild” respiratory symptoms such as cough, flu and fatigue.
“For as long as you cook it well, however, you will not get the infection,” she said.
Pinili said the local government is consistently taking samples from local growers to see if their farms remain free from infection.
She added that results of the 60 samples taken from a farm, where 10 out of 300 ducks died recently, tested negative for bird flu.
Pinili said another possible source of bird flu is the migratory birds. He asked residents to keep their distance from these birds to avoid spreading the virus.
She said migratory birds have been sighted in the Bucana area. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)